Monday, July 30

A conversation with Milo

Milo: Olive can be a bear.
Me: Olive is a bear? Growl!
Milo: I can be bear, too!
Me: Okay!
Milo: You are flamingo. I am a bear. It cannot fly.
Me: Bears can't fly?
Milo: No. And flamingos can't fly, too. Ohnooo, da bear is goin get me!

Wednesday, July 18

Brake it Down

A couple weeks ago the brakes on my car went out. While I was driving. While I was driving with my two sleeping children in the backseat. Needless to say, it was one of those terrifying moments that, thankfully, happen so fast you don’t even have time to process how truly terrifying it is as it’s happening.

Spoiler alert: we’re all safe and nothing awful happened (unless you count the huge dent in our checking account).

The kids and I were on our way to my parents’ house. To turn into their neighborhood from a four-lane busy street, you have to be paying attention or you just might miss the street. My method is to watch for the street sign to know exactly when the turn is coming up. Apparently, though, the street sign was down for some reason. While I had slowed down considerably, when I realized the street was upon us, I wasn’t quite going slow enough to safely make the turn.

So I cruised on to the next turn, which goes into a parking lot and would let me wind my way over to the neighborhood street. No big deal.

But in an instant, my car (and me) started freaking out. Warning beeps screeched, dashboard lights flashed, emergency signals that I couldn’t decipher suddenly appeared on my screen. I tried to brake and quickly realized that was not happening. I needed to get off the road. Everything happened so fast, I’m not sure exactly how things went down. One of the lights that came on was my emergency brake light. I thought, “Did I manage to turn on my emergency brakes?” So I pressed the emergency brake pedal to try to turn it off, which turned out to be a good thing because it slowed me down. I think I put on my flashers, aware that things were not good and I should try to warn other drivers.

As I was attempting the right turn into the parking lot, another car was exiting the lot, and I briefly considered honking because I didn’t think I was going slow enough to control my turn. But somehow I controlled it. Maybe it was the fact that I was on an incline that slowed me down. Maybe it was because I had already been decreasing my speed for awhile. Maybe it was because I pressed the emergency brake pedal. But I cruised into the lot and pulled over to the side. I could tell my brakes were not doing what they were supposed to. Their stopping action was not related at all to my pressing on the pedal, it seemed.

My heart was pounding. I may have cursed a time or two. But we were stopped, and the kids were still asleep in spite of the beeping, screeching warning sounds. I turned the car off and tried turning it back on. The classic reset move. But that didn’t help anything. The flashing and beeping started the instant the car came back on. I considered whether I could make it to my parents’ house, since I was only a couple blocks away. No, bad idea. I did, however, decide to try to move the car about 20 feet forward to be in an actual parking spot rather than on the side of the parking lot entrance. Since I never went more than 5 mph, I was able to pull off this maneuver.

I called my parents and my dad answered the phone. I explained what happened and asked him to come pick up the kids. It was about 100 degrees out and I didn’t like the thought of them sleeping in the car in the heat. Dad came right away and we all loaded into the car, deciding that I could call AAA from their house and come back to the car when the tow truck came.

I called, the car got towed to my side of town, and we ended up paying close to $2200 for parts and labor. It was the skid control ECU that had malfunctioned and needed to be replaced. (While I’m sure all of you know exactly what that is, let me explain for my own memory. It’s basically one of several sub-computers in the car that controls a bunch of functions, including the brakes. And since the brakes in the Prius are tied to the whole hybrid functionality, it’s a complicated expensive thing to fix. And nobody but the dealer will fix it, so they can pretty much charge whatever they want for labor.)

In the end, everything turned out fine. And the brakes going out happened at about the best possible time. The day before, we were on our way back from my cousin’s wedding in Iowa and spent a lot of time on small roads in rural Iowa. With temps in the upper nineties and no shade to speak of, waiting for a tow truck in the middle of nowhere would have been a lot worse. Even just ten minutes earlier would have been worse, since we were driving on a 65-mph-highway. And having that street sign down was even a good thing, since it had me slowing down, but forcing me to miss the turn meant I ended up going up an incline. I’m not one to believe in miracles or guardian angels or any of that, but incidents like this make me feel pretty thankful to the universe for looking out for me and my babies.

Thursday, July 12

He rhymes

We have this book that is full of nursery rhyme parodies featuring trucks. Obviously, Milo adores it. We've been reading it pretty much every day for the last couple of weeks. Several of the poems have now been memorized.

We'll be in the car, and Milo will quietly start singing, "Three loud trucks, three loud trucks. See how they ZOOM! See how they ZOOM!" It's pretty awesome.

When reading that book, sometimes I stop and tell Milo that this poem was based on another poem. "This one goes 'Three blind mice, three blind mice.'" And he looks at me like I am completely crazy. I don't blame him, really. A little rhyme about trucks makes way more sense than one about blind mice who get their tails cut off.

I get this same blank stare when I recite the "sugar and spice and everything nice" rhyme, "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring," and "Peter Peter Pumpkin-Eater." But none of those are really that important, right?

Sunday, July 8

She's Five Months Old!

My, how the time flies, etc. etc. Olive is five months old and going strong. Literally. People are constantly saying how strong she is for just five months. And I'm starting to believe them.

Olive can sit up unassisted. She occasionally still flops over, but for several minutes at a time, she balances just fine and sits there like she was born to do it. She loses her balance when she reaches out for a toy or her paci or a sharp pair of scissors (ha! totally kidding! basically!). This new sitting skill only took hold a couple of days ago, so it's still pretty exciting.

She easily flips over in all directions. She easily rotates in a complete 360, on both her back and tummy. She can scoot herself backwards when on her tummy. When on her tummy, she can lift herself up so her arms are straight and her entire torso is off the ground. She attempts to get her knees up under her in a crawling position, but hasn't figured that one out yet. To sum up, the girl is on the move.

According to our growth chart, she stands about 24 inches tall. According to the breastfeeding support group I go to, she weighed about 15 pounds a week and a half ago. Won't have pediatrician-approved stats until her six-month checkup.

Olive loves her big brother. She giggles at him and watches his every move. She cranes her neck around in the weirdest positions to get a better view of him. If he so much as smiles at something, he can get her giggling. Milo loves her just as much. He likes to hold her hand and give her hugs. He still says, "Olive is my best friend." I'm sure she shares the sentiment.

She gets in talking moods and just goes on and on with an "Ahhhhhhhhhh" sound. Sometimes I hear a "guhhhhh" mixed in, but she's mostly staying away from consonant sounds at this point.

No teeth yet, but from her rampant chewing, I wonder if they're not far off.

She likes it when I sing. Sometimes that's the only way I can keep her from twisting around and trying to flip over during a diaper change. Distract 'em with singing, that's what I always say.

Speaking of diapers, Olive poops once a day. Is this normal for babies? In the words of Milo, "It's a beeeg one" every time. Almost always requires a change of clothes. (And you're welcome, Olive of the Future, for sharing your bowel movements with the world.)

Olive loves to bounce. She bounces just by bending her knees, but loves it most when you bounce her in the air. She enjoys her new-to-us jumperoo-exersaucer thingy too. I also love it, for it gives me up to 20ish minutes at a time where she is both occupied and happy. And safe, don't forget that.

Olive's special move is holding her arms straight out from her sides. Maybe it's a balance thing? I mostly notice it when holding her on my hip. I'm always banging her arms into doorways and such because I forget just how far they're sticking out from her body.

Bathtime is getting a little fun, though mostly she could care less. She is awfully slippery in there, though. I'm not a fan of washing babies who can't sit up yet, so I hope her sitting skills translate to tub sitting soon.

She's been in the pool twice now and doesn't seem to care about it. No squeals of delight, no cries of distress. Nothing. It's like she doesn't even know she's wet.

Olive is becoming more of a paci girl. I guess we've forced it on her enough times that she's giving up on her thumbs. The downside to this is that when we go on walks (like this morning) and forget to take a paci, she can end up crying for a loooong time (like this morning). It is not so fun.

Dimples. She's got them. It is her most talked about feature. I may be biased, but I think she's a beautiful little baby. Her eyes just suck you in. They're not as blue as they used to be, sort of green, maybe?

Let's talk sleeping. Or lack thereof. Grrrrrr. Naps are irregular and I often miss her tired cues and she ends of overtired and cranky. At night, she's going down earlier and earlier, typically ready for bed by 6:00. She wakes frequently needing to be soothed in some way. One big problem is that she's flipping over and hasn't figured out how to just settle down and sleep on her tummy. Swaddling works sometimes, but she can flip over when swaddled and that worries me. Andrew and I are both exhausted from all the night wakings and just want her to sleep already.

Olive is still nursing exclusively. But frankly, she's driving me crazy with it and sometimes I just wish she was on formula. She gnaws on me and smacks my chest and face, and she drags her sharp baby claws across my boobs. She yanks on my hair when I burp her. Her latest thing is to try to grab my lips (this one is not necessarily just nursing/burping related, I suppose.) with those same talons. In short, my well-being and sanity are at stake every time she gets hungry.

(We did try solids this morning (oatmeal thinned WAY out with breastmilk) but she wasn't into it. Made frowny faces, clenched her jaw shut, and spit it out. When she did get the food in her mouth, she gagged on it. It could not have been more liquidy, but it was too much for her. Perhaps we'll try again in a couple weeks.)

But in spite of all the ways she drives me crazy, I do adore this girl. She is happy and loves her world. She is so interested in things, so fascinated watching other kids. Though she has fussy days that seem to go on and on, she truly is rarely unhappy. After spending a weekend with my sister, Olive cried one evening. Courtney remarked, "That's the first time I've seen her cry." Huh. It's rare enough that it's worth commenting on. I don't know what I did to get so lucky with Olive. She's just amazing and I am so lucky to be her mommy.

Thursday, July 5

8,425 steps and counting

The last couple days I've felt so incredibly busy, but my according to my Fitbit, I've been almost completely inactive, managing only about 2,500 steps a day. Today, after holding Olive while she took the longest nap of all time, the inactivity was starting to get to me. Andrew encouraged me to go for a walk, and I took him up on his offer to put Milo to bed and stay home with the kids.

It was glorious. Hot and sweaty, but glorious. I listened to my Britney Spears Pandora station and headed down to the trails near our house. And get this: I jogged. I know, I couldn't believe it either. And I actually enjoyed it. My legs were feeling good and I wanted to jog further, but my kegel muscles were threatening to give out. And those are not muscles you really want to push to the limit.

Who knows? Maybe someday I will run that 5k I swore I was going to run six years ago and still haven't ever trained for. Crazier things have happened.

Tuesday, July 3

Best. Ride. Ever.

My sister gave me and the kids a ride home yesterday, and Milo got to ride in his cousin's car seat. A forward-facing car seat. (Yes, my two-year-old is still rear-facing. Some say crazy. I say crazy safe.) The entire 30-minute drive he just leaned over toward the middle of the car, looked out the front window, and glowed with happiness.

His eyes lit up with every truck, every digger, every overpass. "Whoa!" he kept saying softly. "Whoa, look at dat!" I could barely hear him, but he kept on talking. "Look at dat truck! Dat's a beeeg one!" It was truly the best car trip he's ever been on. Poor kid, it'll be awhile before you get that kind of excitement again. Mean old Mommy is going to keep you rear facing a little while longer.